Is Texas a No-Fault State?
David Muñoz | April 19, 2023 | Car Accidents
Texas state law applies to car accidents that occur in El Paso, Texas. Although Texas is not a no-fault state, resolving your claim is not necessarily as simple as demanding compensation from an at-fault driver. You might have suffered a hit-and-run accident, for example.
No-Fault vs. At-Fault: How It Works
No-fault and at-fault systems work very differently. Following is a synopsis of some of the differences and their implications.
In a no-fault system, followed by about a dozen states, each car accident victim must look to their own no-fault insurance (PIP) to cover their medical bills and lost earnings. They cannot seek non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. In fact, they cannot even sue the at-fault party. The reason behind this rule is to keep from clogging the courts with car accident cases.
Nevertheless, these states leave an escape clause that applies if the injury is serious enough. If, for example, the injury causes permanent disability or disfigurement, the victim might be able to escape the no-fault system and proceed as if they lived in an at-fault state (see below).
In an “at-fault” state such as Texas, you can immediately sue the at-fault driver, or you can file a third-party claim against their liability insurance carrier. In an at-fault state, you should never say you’re sorry, even to be polite. The amount of compensation you receive, if any, depends on the seriousness of your injuries, the extent to which you may have shared fault for the accident, and how much insurance the at-fault driver carries.
Reporting the Accident
In most accidents, the police will arrive and gather information to put into an accident report. Your job is to remain at the scene of the accident, cooperate with the police, and request a copy of the accident report when you need one. The insurance company will probably want a copy.
If the police don’t come, the rule is that you need to turn in an accident report if the accident resulted in death, injury, or property damage of over $1,000.
Under the Texas doctrine of comparative negligence, courts will distribute liability and compensation if more than one party was at fault for a car accident. If you were 20% at fault, for example, you will lose precisely 20% of your damages. If you were more than 50% at fault, however, you cannot recover any compensation at all.
Texas Car Insurance Requirements
Texas applies a 30/60/25 auto insurance requirement. Each driver with a vehicle registered in Texas must purchase liability insurance with no less than the following coverage:
- $30,000 in liability for each injured victim;
- $60,000 in total liability per accident; and
- $25,000 per accident in property damage liability.
Additional insurance is available, but optional. Policies typically include PIP coverage, but you can reject it if you sign a written statement.
The following insurance is available but not required in Texas:
- Comprehensive: Damages to your vehicle caused by theft or bad weather.
- Collision: Pays for collision damage even if the accident was your fault and even for one-car accidents.
- Gap coverage: If your car is totaled, this insurance pays the difference between what you owe and your car’s actual cash value.
- MedPay: Medical expenses for you and your passengers.
- Rent-a-car reimbursement insurance.
- Roadside assistance: Covers expenses for flat tires, dead batteries, or towing.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: This can help you in a hit-and-run accident or in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
- PIP insurance: Please see above.
These types of insurance may be available with different coverage limits.
Truck Drivers and Uber Drivers
Truck drivers and Uber drivers generally carry far more insurance than other drivers. So much more, in fact, that you will probably be able to enforce just about any car accident claim against one of these drivers.
Statute of Limitations
In most cases, the Texas statute of limitations for a car accident is two years. That means you must file a lawsuit within two years after the accident for a personal injury and within two years after the date of death for a wrongful death claim.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation With an Experienced Texas Traffic Accident Lawyer
Texas traffic accident lawyers generally offer free initial consultations where they will ask you questions about your claim. If they like it, they will probably agree to represent you on a contingency fee basis. If they do, your legal fees will total precisely $0.00 until and unless they win (or settle) your case.
Contact the San Diego Car Accident Law Firm of Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Today To Get More Information
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